Corporate Innovation Checklist

What you need for a successful corporate innovation program? 
First of all setting the right goals, information flows, and incentives.

Here is a brief list. For the innovation to work you have to have at least the boxes at the top checked.


 Aiming at long-term success of the company (get milk not meat).


 Committed to explicit long-term strategic goals.
 Passionate to solve the problems of the customers. 
 Understanding what means value from the customer perspective
 Eager to grow, and break the status quo.
 Power to put customers’ interest before the shareholders’ interest.
 Invested and Incentivized for long term growth.
 Able to articulate and align around prioritized goals
 Able to energize the team to improve and rethink customer value.

Dedicated Innovation Team

 Passionate and respectful to the customers’ needs.
 Direct access to customers for problem understanding.
 Cross-domain skills and knowledge of new technologies and business models. Authority to build new business models that puts the customer’s interest before (even in conflict with) the interest of existing partners and suppliers.
 Authority toput the customer’s interest before the existing businesses.
 Eager to think and experiment.
 Direct access to customers for solution validation.
 Goals related to impact and sustainability.
 Sharing information and know-how across the company.
 Incentives — to compensate for the risks and motivate to be bold.

Business model

 Incumbent BM with limitations of scale, performance or convenience.
 Available Technology or unfair advantage to improve by 10x at least one aspect for a specific customer segment.
 Enough customers to appreciate the new solution. Aligned with the customers values. Sustainable practices.

Dedicated Scale-up team

 Knowledge and skills to scale a validated idea to a profitable business.
 Authority to put customers’ interest before the interest of existing business, partners or suppliers.
 Incentives to do so.

These are the pillars of the corporate innovation —drive to grow, passion for the customer, converging goals, open information channels and of course adequate incentives.

The higher in the list, the bigger the impact they have, and the harder to change. Knowing their status will help you set the right expectations — transformation or a theater.

The actual implementation is a different story, written in plenty of books. Many companies are focused on the implementation, but without first setting the foundation it will just fall apart.

Stefan Petzov

Stefan Petzov is an innovation manager leading the Technology and Innovation function in the Swisscom Outpost in Silicon Valley. Stefan Petzov has a long experience in agile product development of cloud-native enterprise solutions.

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